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Shocking results for electric blanket safety checksLast updated: 15 January 2013 10:35
How safe is your electric blanket? That was the question posed by Portsmouth City Council’s Trading Standards team before Christmas, as they held a series of free events which allowed members of the public to take along their electric blankets and have them checked by safety engineers.
Councillor Eleanor Scott, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety said:
"The public really welcomed these free safety checks, and we saw residents bring along their electric blankets to test for faults. The results were suprising, with 45% of the blankets tested revealed to be faulty.
"Not only can a faulty blanket seem perfectly fine, but it could put your life, or the life of a loved one in danger, so please do ensure your electric blankets are safe to use."
Steve Jones, specialist engineer carrying out the safety checks, said:
"Anyone with an electic blanket should make sure their items are tested regularly. The main problem with electric blankets is that they are so reliable usually, some blankets still work after people have used them for 50 years, however, it is this type that cause most of the fires as they do not have an adequate overheat safety system. This means people fall into a false sense of security with their electric blankets, which could put their safety at risk."
Things to watch out for on your electric blanket:
• Fraying fabric
• Scorch marks
• Exposed elements
• Creasing or folding
• Damp patches
• Tie tapes damaged or missing
• Worn flex
• Loose connections
If your blanket or any part of the wiring shows any of these danger signs, you should replace it immediately.
Also, look out for the old BEAB safety mark – a round symbol (the new sign is white capital letters on a black background). This means it is more than 10 years old.
Storing your blanket in the correct manner will ensure you get the best from it. Don’t fold electric blankets – it can damage the wiring. Better to roll them. Or you can store blankets by putting them on a spare bed. Electric under-blankets can be left on your bed all year if you wish.
Use your electric blanket safely:
• Always follow the instructions
• Never use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa
• Keep all blankets flat
• Tie electric underblankets to the bed or mattress – this stops them slipping and creasing, which could damage them
• Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed
• Don’t get blankets wet, and if your blanket does get wet, don’t use it - never switch it on to dry it
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